Sisters who tried to use Right to Buy scheme in Slough sentenced for fraud

A pair of sisters have been given suspended jail sentences for making false representations when purchasing a house under the Right to Buy scheme (RTB).

Nasra Ban a tenant of 148 Granville Avenue, Slough and her sister Fatima Zahra applied to the council to purchase the property under the RTB scheme in September 2019 as Ban had lived in the property for at least 12 months.

The property was valued at £314,000 however the sisters were eligible for a discount of £82,800 under the scheme and a landlord’s office notice was sent to them in December 2019.

During a review into the application by the council’s corporate fraud team the sisters were asked to provide proof of residency and funds. Ban provided bank statements on February 2020 pertaining to herself and Zahra which raised concerns.

A subsequent investigation revealed that Fatima Zahra had in fact been living with her husband in Rochdale and working at a dental practice in Oldham.

It was then revealed that the bank statements relating to Zahra had been doctored. A total of 104 transactions had been fraudently changed to make it appear as though they occurred in Slough instead of Rochdale and Oldham.

On September 3 this year at Reading Magistrates Court both Ban and Zahra plead guilty to dishonestly making false representations. Zahra also plead guilty to two offences of making and or supplying articles used in fraud.

During sentencing at Reading Crown Court on November 15 their representative said in mitigation that neither sister had been a leading force in the fraud and were pressured into making the application by a family member.

Zahra received 12 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months and Ban received 10 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months. Both must do 15 days rehabilitation through the probation serviced. They were also ordered to pay £1,956 each in costs.

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